DEI Isn’t Just About the Who, it’s About the How

Traditional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts have focused heavily on recruitment and retention, totally missing the bigger picture issues that have kept either from having deep impact or being sustainable. The emphasis has been on “diversity hires'': Where are they? How do we get our position descriptions to them? How do we convey a compelling story about our organization that will draw them to want to work for us? 

We create targeted lists of places we think all the “diverse candidates” will be: HBCUs, community and activism focused groups, specified professional organizations. We send our one recruiter who seems to be either a member of the target community or comfortable in intercultural interactions as the spokesperson. And we aren’t successful.

It’s been a bit of a dog chasing its tail story for decades. In 2022, traditional focus on recruitment and retention won’t help us build a diverse and competitive organization. 


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Recruiting for Diversity: 7 Things to Avoid and suggested Inclusive Alternatives

Among all of the important work to be done related to your equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts, recruitment seems to be the one most heavy on everyone’s mind. Just like other strategic priorities, recruitment has to be carefully focused on, invested in, and measured. Of equal importance is defining what attributes effective recruitment includes – which also helps clarify what to avoid. Below are 7 things to avoid in your diversity recruitment efforts. Use this list as a conversation starter with your hiring managers, search committees, and HR team. 

1. Avoid ambiguity. Avoid going into recruitment with vague ideas about what the ideal candidate should be able to bring or do based on the current laundry list of items that need attention or based on a void left by the person who most recently filled the position. 

Inclusive Alternative: Think about the current and future needs of your team, department and/or organization. I encourage the...

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